ENT, RUA, SAD – Normal Life In Acronym World

Since I returned from my great holiday in Tenerife the weather at home has been pretty appalling – I know, Ireland and the UK are hardly renowned for loads of sunshine and warmth in autumn, but this year it has been reported that November has been the dullest on record, and strong winds, persistent rain, and blankets of grey skies have been generally relentless… and so someone like me (or a valued friend of mine, as I found out recently) who suffers from self-diagnosed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can, and has, got pretty fed up with getting out of bed one day after the next to miserable weather. Luckily life has been pretty good otherwise, though as I write this now, with Christmas just around the corner which I am really not looking forward to, I am feeling a bit down. I wonder if my lack of enthusiasm will show in this blog, as I catch-up from early-November to mid-December…

In mid-November I had an appointment in ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) in a Belfast hospital to have an examination of my nasal passages and throat owing to my long-running throat problems with post-nasal drip, a condition which means either a runny nose with no warning or too much phlegm. Anyway, the rather uncomfortable examination revealed nothing that looked damaged or untoward, which I left feeling quite relieved about. In the lift on the way down to ground floor the door opened on the floor below the one I had entered and a girl from one of my Meetup Groups got in, which was a nice surprise; we chatted all the way to the car park, and swapped phone numbers for a potential future cinema meetup.

In the last few weeks I have become more efficient at getting ready, and it normally takes me barely more than an hour now to get ready from out of my bed to out of the door; one day I even did it in 57 minutes!

In late November there was quite a chilly period and it snowed on the hills above Belfast… but, despite being a fair-weather person, I went for a walk with my group to the top of Cave Hill and I did enjoy the company… even if it took my face about an hour to defrost over some nice chat and a scone and tea.

The next day was a very interesting and activity-packed one. The morning was to another meetup group event, this time to Ulster Museum to visit the annual RUA (Royal Ulster Academy) art exhibition, where RUA members and other artists submit their work and the subjectively-best work is chosen for their annual display; this event was one of many that a nice guy called Jim has posted up this year since I joined this group. There was actually some very good art work there, both paintings and also sculptures, including a knitted crane! After that many of us went to Café Renoir for a really good lunch with much chat; I had quite a tasty burger. Next on the agenda was a lone-trip to the cinema to see Matt Damon’s latest film, Martian, about how a guy tries to survive on his own on Mars – I thought it was very well done… and near the end I cried… which I never thought I would do at a film set in space! Then I headed over to the Lisburn Road for supper with my BFF Kirsty at a coffee shop we like.

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At the end of November my car was at the repairers for a couple of days to have a minor bump sorted out – the guys there were really nice, the older one kept addressing me as “love” and desperately tried to give me a lift into the centre of town… though I had over an hour to kill before a dentist appointment and so I walked as it was, for once, dry… although on the Saturday I did accept a lift as it was rather wet. Having got the bus into Newry, I popped to the ladies, and there was a woman at the sink in only her bra changing her clothes!! In the evening I enjoyed another fabulous meal at Blu in Belfast with my two friends Kirsty and Michelle.

Work is pretty much the same as ever, not terribly interesting, but at the same time no bother in terms of my new life, apart from occasions when stress makes my throat feel tight and keeping my new voice going becomes somewhat exhausting; many guys are very well mannered, holding doors open and so on. A girl on my team is getting married at the end of this month, and I enjoyed organising a collection for her; she seemed to enjoy being spoilt with the resulting presents which it took me a VERY long lunch to decide upon, as well as flowers… I just hope she likes them. I have had several lunches out with colleagues past and present at Dublin, a favourite venue being the Art Of Coffee which serves lovely sandwiches on Italian bread.

I had an uneventful gender clinic appointment… although once again, when we covered my throat issues, she stated that many transsexuals carry on life with their “normal” (???) voice… although how they do this satisfactorily I can’t imagine because to me living life as a woman but making no effort to sound like one makes no sense at all… and to me only now do I have a voice which, at least in my head, finally DOES sound normal.

I have run out of things to say, not many of which I am sure are that interesting; next time I’ll write about a measure to at least temporarily halt my SAD.

x

7 thoughts on “ENT, RUA, SAD – Normal Life In Acronym World

  1. I always find your blogs to be interesting and do not forget you are an inspiration. I am at a loss as to the attitude of your gender clinic lady when she suggests you revert to your Bob voice. Why oh why would she say this unless she is simply not bothered about helping people. Never accept second best. Well knowing you I doubt you ever would accept second best. The good news in all of this is there are no problems with nor damage to your throat.

  2. Hi Andrea,

    For your voice keep drinking frequent amounts of water / juice / tea. Eventually your throat will get used to it. The other option is that you are trying to push your voice too high. It always sounds different to you than to others because you hear additional frequencies that are conducted via the bones of your skull, that is why when you listen to a recording of yourself it always sounds very different from your own voice. Sometimes it is best to rest the voice by dropping the pitch a little – not down to “male” levels though. As long as chest resonance does not come back back you will still have a female voice.

    On the runny nose issue, many transwomen get a runny nose on the first year of HRT and it always seems to be the right-hand nostril. No one knows why.

  3. Your therapist does seem to have a very narrow view as far as voice is concerned. Interestingly, I was reading an interview with Rebecca Root in The Guardian not so long ago, and the article makes reference to the fact she actually had surgery on the vocal cords to remove her lower range. The article is here, in case you want to point out to your therapist that trans* folk don’t always accept the status quo: http://tinyurl.com/ozsa5ws
    Enjoy Christmas as best you can, Andrea. As I write, the year has turned so we can console ourselves that daylight is increasing once more.

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